Yorkshire Canals 2001 (Page 6)
Thursday 11 October - Leeds to Shipley
The line of the canal from Office Lock in Leeds to Newlay 3-rise is one where British
Waterways advise boaters not to moor overnight, which is why we had suffered a less than
ideal night's sleep in Leeds. We made a prompt start and here are making good progress
through the western suburbs of Leeds.
When we reached Kirkstall lock, however, something was clearly wrong. That gate paddle
should not be open as we come into the lock. And daylight should most definitely not be
Once off the boat, the problem was obvious. Some local vandal had raised all four paddles
on the lock, allowing water to run straight through the lock, resulting in the canal above
the lock being almost dry. The water should be almost to the top of the side walls, some
four feet higher, but in places it was only six inches deep, certainly not enough for a
We telephoned British Waterways, and within 15 minutes or so we had five people down at
the lock, including a manager who was very apologetic. They opened the paddles at the next
locks and let water down into the canal where we wanted to travel, but as half a mile of
canal was almost empty, we settled ourselves for a long wait. Lucy is just visible on the
balance beam, taking it easy. This was the first time I'd ever had lunch while moored in a
From the lock, the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey gaze down on the Aire valley.
Two and a half hours later, while not up to the normal water levels, there was sufficient
for us to continue our journey westwards.
As yet unidentified wildlife.
Stephen steers Worcester as Lucy holds up the traffic with this electrically
operated swing-bridge on a byroad between Bradford and Harrogate.
Lucy looks up from the depths of the bottom lock of the Dobson 2-rise.
As the boat rises from the depths, looking back to Apperley Bridge.
An unusual sight - as there was one narrowboat going up (us) and one going down, we shared
the working of the locks and passed each other in the locks.
The top lock is now nearly full, giving a good view back down onto the other boat in the
Not very far for the best part of a day's work!
As dusk begins to fall, Lucy waits for Stephen to prepare the Field 3-rise locks. In the
darkening gloom we pressed on,
mooring at Shipley for the night.